Wysiwyg: What you see is what you get editor

I created a wysiwyg editor using Javascript, jQuery, HTML5 and bootstrap for designing. It has some basic formatting options. I will keep adding and making it robust. But it is yours to use for the purpose.

Here is the link to demo. It is compatible with firefox and chrome for now but not that much robust.

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Spidey: Python Web Crawler

I created a web crawler using python and its modules. It follows certain conditions like it reads robots.txt before crawling a page. If the robots.txt allows the page to be crawled the spidey crawls it. It dives in recursively. But there are certain limitations I have set. It do not go beyond 20 pages, as it is just a prototype. It cannot be detect traps, where it will go infinitely.

Spidey is a very basic crawler which works just fine with websites at least on the websites I have tested. I have tested it with http://python.org/ and http://stackoverflow.com/ and it did pretty well.

The modules I have used for the purpose are urllib2, re, BeautifulSoup, robotparser.

Here is the code if you want to test/use it.

Backbone.js: MVC framework for Javascript – Views

In the previous post, we saw Routers of Backbone. Views as name suggests give views to your page, form whatever. In a single page application, each page has a view and they in result have multiple form views eg- one for login, one for home, one for landing page. How it is done?

As we have seen in the routers we created a single page (http;//yourwebsiteurl/) and it had three views default, loginpage, loginuser. We are going to take advantage of the router and will create views for each of them

Requirement: Backbone.js ( + Underscore.js ), jQuery.js ( latest )

Usage:

Consider the html below the body of a html page which we are using, default-view, userpage-view, userlogin-view.

<html>
<!--  Remember the order of the scripts. We will describe the the contents of default.js in next post while summing up the example. Right now example wont work, that is, all the views will be displayed-->
     <script type="text/javascript" src="jquery.js"></script>
     <script type="text/javascript" src="underscore.js"></script>
     <script type="text/javascript" src="backbone.js"></script>
     <script type="text/javascript" src="view.js"></script>
     <script type="text/javascript" src="router.js"></script><!-- Router we explained in the previous post is used-->
     <!-- script type="text/javascript" src="default.js"></script -->

     <body>
         <div id="default-view">
               <input id="loginpage" type="button" value="Login Page" />
         </div>
         <div id="loginpage-view">
               <input id="email" type="text" name="email" /><input id="login" type="button" value="Login" />
         </div>
         <div id="loginuser-view"></div>
    </body>
</html>

Contents of view.js

var pageview = Backbone.View.extend({  //Creating the view by extending backbone.

    el: $(document), //it is not playing role in this example as we are creating multiple views. if in case we were implementing let say loginuser view only, we would have set it $('#loginuser').

    events: { //events that we needs to bind, here click on buttons is used.
        'click input#loginpage': 'loginpage',
        'click input#login': 'loginuser'
    },

    initialize: function(){   //this is called when an object of view is created.
        _.bindAll(this, 'render', 'loginpage', 'loginuser', 'loginpageview', 'loginuserview');  //binds all the function that we to the view(pageview) object
       // this.model = new loginModel();  //comment it as we are not implementing model
        this.render();   //render function will be called, it is sort of convention to use it to show default view. not necessary always.
    },

    render: function(){ //default view
        $('#loginuser-view').hide();
        $('#loginpage-view').hide();
        $('#default-view').show();
    },

    loginpage: function(){ //when Login Page button is clicked this function is called which we bound in events.
//Your pre processing of data if any.
        window.location.href = 'http://yourwebsiteurl/#/loginpage';
    },

    loginuser: function(){ //when login button is clicked this function is called which we bound in events.
//Your pre processing of data if any. Generally model is used here. In this case when you will get email and password use model to check if the user is valid. Then perform resultant action.
    	var email = $('#email').val();
    	window.location.href = 'http://yourwebsiteurl/#/loginuser/'+email;
    },

    loginpageview: function(){
//This function will display the contents of loginpage view.
    	$('#default-view').hide();
        $('#loginuser-view').hide();
        $('#loginpage-view').show();
    },

    loginuserview: function(email){
/* Resultant of the login action is this view. This is just for the sake of explaining views. */
        $('#default-view').hide();
        $('#loginpage-view').hide();
/*some action here to retrieve the view of logged in user, most probably from database */
	$('#loginuser-view').text('Hi '+email);
        $('#loginuser-view').show();
    }
});

Explanation:

Everything is explained in the comments. We are left with only connecting router with view, which will be the content of “default.js”. In the next post over simple working backbone backed application will be ready (minus model). Hope I have managed to make you understand backbone.

Backbone.js: MVC framework for Javascript – Routers

In the previous post, we saw Models of Backbone. We will see about Router in this post.

Router provides method for routing client side pages. Pages using REST API have multiple views on one page and are displayed as a result of some action. Like you have one view of login and other of home page. So when you login the view of the page changes and it displays your home page. Router helps to keep url tidy and makes easy to perform action accordingly. Lets take a look at example.

A normal web application.

URL for signup page: http://example.com/signup.php

URL for home page: http://example.com/home.php?u=1234

Single page web application.

URL for signup page: http://example.com#/singup

URL for home page: http://example.com#/home/1234

Requirement: Backbone.js (+Underscore.js),  jquery.js (latest)

Using:

Contents of router.js

//Router is created using Router of Backbone.
var route = Backbone.Router.extend({
//initialize is called when we will create a route object. pageview is the view of the page which will be created in next post
 initialize: function(pageview){
//We store the views so that it is not called everytime the url changes.
 this.view = pageview;
 },
//routes are the link with respect to the default url, we want to implement.
 routes:{
 'loginpage': 'loginpage', //http://yourwebsiteurl/#/loginpage
 'loginuser/:email': 'loginuser', //:email is the variable which is analogous to get method, which backbone matches by itself.
 '': 'index' //http://yourwebsiteurl/
 },

 loginpage: function(){
//Whenever we land on the url using loginpage its view must be called.
 this.view.loginpageview();
 },

 loginuser: function(email){ // matched :email from  url can be taken in variable(like email in our case) in this function.
//Whenever we land on the url using loginuser its view must be called. We can store multiple views and call them as required.
 this.view.loginuserview(email);
 },

 index: function(){
//by default this is called as we have marked.
 this.view.render();
 }
});

Explanation:

Everything is explained in comments. We will use this router.js in our next post on views.

Backbone.js: MVC framework for Javascript – Models

There are many MVC frameworks for Javascript. Spine.js and Backbone.js are most famous and used of all. But we’ll be seeing only Backbone.js here only.

Before that, spine is fundamentally different from backbone. Spine strictly follows MVC model, while there is actually nothing like Views in backbone conceptually. Plus there is no controller either in backbone, C stands for collection.

So, model is model+controller, and controller is views in backbone. Backbone also uses Underscore.js as helper for collections. So, we need both underscore and backbone for the application while spine is used alone.

We will start with models first. Model have numerous methods to perform various operations. The example are based on ajax requests, instead of CRUD operations using REST API. We’ll get back to those later. Its not that complicated just lets get started with what we know already.

Requirement: Backbone.js ( + Underscore.js ), jQuery.js ( latest )

Usage:

/*
* Backbone model should have everything which is interacting with your database.
* A user model can be implemented by extending backbone's existing model and its methods.
*/
var book = new Backbone.Model.extend({
// defaults method holds key-value pair object. These are like class variables. You can set them and use them later.
    defaults: {
        'Title': '',
        'Author': '',
        'Publisher': '',
        'ISBN_No': 0
    },

/*
* fetch method by default is associated with url we specify for model but we have overwritten it for now.
* We are using fetch for fetching the data from database.
*/
    fetch: function(){
        var url = 'http://example.com';
        var call = 'getBook';
        var id = '12';

// Ajax call
        $.ajax({
            url: url,
            type: 'GET',
            dataType: 'JSON',
            data: {'call': call, 'id': id},
            success: function(data){
                //Do something with your data using jquery or return some html from the handler.
            }
        });

    },

/*
* save method is used for saving data to database. By default on calling save default url is used to save.
* We have overwritten just for now. Save by itself identify create and update operation for database.
* We will come back to this later
*/
    save: function(){
/*
* this is pointing to the instance which has called save method.
* get method for model will get you the values stored in the variable in defaults of the model's instance.
*/
        var url = 'http://example.com/savebook.php';
        var data = {'title': this.get('Title'), 'author': this.get('Author'), 'publisher': this.get('Publisher'), 'isbn': this.get('ISBN_No')};
        $.ajax({
            url: url,
            type: 'POST',
            dataType: 'JSON',
            data: data,
            success: function(data){
                //Do something when your data get saved in your database.
            }
        });
    },
/*
* When we try to update the defaults or save the model validate methods is called by default.
* It should return nothing if validation succeeds because this method by default returns true;
* In case of fail an error string can be returned as below.
*/
    validate: function(attrs){
        //validation for the values to be saved.
        var error = '';

        if(attrs.ISBN_No == 0)
            error += 'ISBN No cannot be equal to 0';
        if(error != ''){
             return error;
        }
    }
});

Explanation:

Everything is explained in comments. Also go through the methods associated with model here.

Hope you like it. It may not seem very intuitive for now. But I think you must have gotten taste for it. We’ll work with Routers in upcoming post.

PHP Data Object: How to

With reference to previous post on PDO. Here is a small tutorial and explanation for connecting to database using PDO object. I recommend using PDO as it is more structured way to connect to database rather than doing it by self plus the general functions like mysql_connect are to be deprecated in upcoming versions of PHP. There is another class called mysqli, if you are using mysql you can use it but again if in case you have to change your database, PDO is best.

Required: PHP 5.0+

Using:

<?php
$user = 'user';
$pass = 'mypass';

$color = 'red';

/** PDO is a class for php data object in php. First argument takes the 
  "typeofdatabase:host=localhost;dbname=db"
* typeofdatabase here is mysql, which can postgre, mssql etc.
* host is in general localhost or you use user with which you connect to 
  database.
* dbname is the name of database you want to connect with.
* return the object of the database connection.
**/
$dbh = new PDO('mysql:host=localhost;dbname=test', $user, $pass);

/** Begin transaction, which is very general term in database. Actually 
   any of CRUD is called transaction.
**/
$dbh->beginTransaction();

$query = "SELECT name FROM fruit WHERE color = ?";    // Query

/** Prepares the query/statement for execution and return the 
   object of statement.
**/
$sth = $dbh->prepare($query);

/** Binds the variables to the prepared query
* first argument takes the position of question mark to which 
  the variable has to be bound.
* second argument is the variable which is to be bound.
* type of variable in the query. Like here the color is string, 
  it can be int etc. and for it there are predefined constants. 
  Its optional.
**/
$sth->bindParam(1, $color, PDO::PARAM_STR);

$sth->execute();     //Query execution.

/** Fetch method is used to fetch each row. There are other methods 
  also like fetchAll
* it takes predefined constant in PDO as argument, FETCH_BOTH returns 
  the row with number and name indexes. Like $result['name'] and $result[0].
* it returns the row array.
**/
while($result = $sth->fetch(PDO::FETCH_BOTH)){
     echo $result['name'];
}

?>

Explanation:

Most of the things which are used in general are explained in the code snippet. But I would still recommend PHP: PDO Manual. Look at the other methods and predefined constants, specially understand the difference between bindParam method and bindValue method. For the record bindParam is better way because it binds the variable at the time of execution of query.

Look at mysqli also for a method called bind_result. Which is quite good, you can extend this PDO class and include this method in it.

Hope you will find this post useful.

PDO: PHP Data Object

There are different ways of connecting to database in PHP. The most general way in use is MySQL extension, which we have discussed here and even everywhere. Well there are two other ways of connecting to database. First one is MySQLi and other is PDO.

Now, question is what is the difference? So, the difference is MySQLi is MySQL improved. As name states, it is improved version of the MySQL extension. It uses both direct function which we use in MySQL extension and the object oriented way of implementing the same. So if I would be using MySQLi, I would choose OOP way. But MySQLi extension is only for MySQL. It is more secured if we use it in OOP way like it eliminates the threat of sql injection.

PDO is more generic because through it you can connect to different type of database by changing just the name of the database you want to connect. You can connect to MySQL, MS SQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite and many more. So it is more generalized, as you will not be needed to change the function call and other things. All you have to do is change the connector name, this is the term which is used for software that connects application to database. It is also based on the OOPs the concepts, which makes it easy to use.

PDO and MySQLi have very much the same way of implementation. Moreover MySQL extension is being maintained and can be deprecated in near future. While the other two are in active development.

Next time we’ll be learning implementation using PDO. Its very easy, meanwhile if you want to look it by yourself, here are the links. PDO and MySQLi.